A groundbreaking new policy will expedite the construction of thousands of affordable homes on publicly owned land.
The government will directly commission the construction of homes on publicly owned land, a radical new policy shift not seen on this scale since Thatcher and Heseltine launched the Docklands.
This will result in more quality homes being built at a faster rate, with smaller construction firms – which are currently unable to take on large projects – able to build on government sites where planning permission is already in place.
The first wave of up to 13,000 homes will begin in 2016 on four sites outside of London, with up to 40% of them being affordable’starter’ homes. This method will be used at the Old Oak Common site in north-west London as well.
In addition, the government has announced a £1.2 billion starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes. This will expedite the construction of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020, assisting in the achievement of the commitment to build 200,000 starter homes over the next five years.
The government believes the new investment will help kick-start urban regeneration and secure planning permission – renovating vacant or underutilised urban sites so builders can get to work quickly.
“This government was elected to deliver security and opportunity – whatever stage of life you’re at,” Prime Minister David Cameron said. Nothing is more important than ensuring that hardworking people can afford to buy a home.
“Today’s package represents a significant shift in government policy.” Nothing on this scale has been done in three decades – the government getting its hands dirty and directly building houses.
“Backed up with a further £1.2 billion to get homes built on brownfield sites, it shows we will do everything we can to get Britain building and let more people have the security that comes with a home of their own.”
“We’re pulling out all the stops to keep the country building, with a clear ambition to deliver a million homes by 2020 and support hardworking people into home ownership,” Communities Secretary Greg Clark said.
“The government will directly commission small and emerging companies to build thousands of new homes on sites across the country under today’s radical new approach.”
“This, along with the £1.2 billion new starter homes fund, will assist thousands of people in realising their dream of owning their own home.”
“At the moment, the top eight home builders provide half of all new homes.” The direct commissioning approach will benefit smaller builders and new entrants who are ready to build but lack the necessary resources and land access.”
The direct commissioning pilot on publicly owned land will begin in five locations:
Dover Northstowe in Cambridgeshire’s Connaught Barracks Chichester’s Lower Graylingwell Gosport’s Daedelus on the Waterfront
North-west London’s Old Oak Common
“When it comes to building new homes, the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier to SME house builders increasing their output,” said Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
“Anything the government can do to increase the number of small sites suitable for SME house builders will help address the housing shortage.”
“It is also encouraging that the majority of these sites will already have planning permission in place as obtaining permission is all-too-often a lengthy and protracted process – avoiding this time delay should help house builders increase their supply much more quickly.”
“This government has already introduced a great many initiatives that we believe will slow current high rates of house-price growth,” said Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Today’s announcements will aid in bringing much-needed new developments to market as soon as possible.”